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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


One would hope that people become not (necessarily) more conservative or liberal with age, but if nothing else more nuanced.


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Your comment is in the wrong thread?

Conservative / liberal is extremely context dependent. I can say with relative certainty that I have no idea what you mean by saying you were conservative but are now more liberal, because you are in a very different community than I am.

I am very liberal in Mississippi. I think I would be liberal in Chicago, but a lot of my "liberal" friends would be moderate at most there.

Another odd thing: I fundamentally believe a basic conservative notion, that reforms will essentially always create unforeseen problems. On the other hand, I have communitarian beliefs (that come from a combination of religion and other moral concepts) that make me want a society that tries to make things better for all of us, to the point of risking those unforeseen problems. I'm also acutely conscious of inequalities that I think should be addressed-- but (flipping back to the point I started) basically believe they can't be resolved but only at most ameliorated. Add in that I am strongly civil libertarian... I'm not sure I'm unpredictable, but it is a complicated mix.

The basic formative moment for me was the integration of the schools in Mississippi in 1969 when I was 14. I was already headed in a direction (long story) and going from the white high school to the black one, and being shocked by the different conditions was eye-opening to me in much the way you're talking about, about seeing sides of life I'd not seen.

I could go on longer about this, but think that's enough for now.


Good point about the context-dependent situation of politics. My former conservative views represented conservatism in the Northeastern US where I grew up, so I suppose I would be characterized as a RINO the likes of Bruce Bartlett or David Frum--not preoccupied with race, immigration and people's sexual habits.

My family was very active in Republican politics during my early childhood. They'd never fit into the current conservative context. My staunch Republican grandparents moved from New York to South Carolina then Virginia. They lived in the South through the sixties and were probably considered liberal by their neighbors. My grandfather opened factories in the South when textile manufacturing left New York as the number of recent immigrants--the traditional workforce of the industry--reached a low point. He regularly bargained with politicians, insisting that they agree to support the racially integrated factories he opened.

Ooops supposed to go here.


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